University Library, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688-0002

Library Resources for AIS 101

These reference sources may help you find good information for this class. This page is by no means comprehensive; rather, it is intended to serve as a starting point for your research and assignments. For further assistance, please contact the Reference Desk.

Where do you start when you have a research project?

The first step for any assigment is to make sure you understand it. Read this.

Once you understand your assignment, librarians at the reference desk (2nd floor North) can help you develop a research strategy.

Handy Tools

  • Assignment Calculator: This tool, from the University of Minnesota Libraries, can help you develop a plan to write your paper.
  • Use a Research Log (pdf) or Research Log (doc) to keep track of your searches and their results.

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Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias have a wealth of background information that can provide you with a strong foundation upon which to build your research. To find a subject encyclopedia, try the search strategies show in the tutorial on this link.

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Finding Books

SOUTHcat Catalog

The catalog contains "records" for books, e‐books, journals, CD‐ROMs, CDs, DVDs, videos, and government documents held by the libraries at the University of South Alabama.

Search tips:

  • Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("electoral college")
  • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (president? finds president, presidents, presidential...)
  • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "Congressional oversight," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Legislative oversight -- United States." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
  • Revise and refine your searches
  • Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area
  • Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.
  • Several Flash tutorials about SOUTHcat are available on the library's website.

Electronic Books

Subscription and free electronic books

Electronic Reference Sources

Selected subscription-based and free electronic reference sources

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Finding Magazine and Journal Articles

Use article databases to identify articles on specific topics, as well as to locate full-text electronic articles. Find them on the Articles, Indexes, and Databases page linked from the Library homepage. Remote access is available for most journals.

Multdisciplinary databases such as Academic Search Premier are a good place to start for most topics. Once you have chosen your paper topic, consult a librarian to see which databases are the best suited for your reseach. Here is a webpage detailing the technical process of obtaining a fulltext article.

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Finding Newspaper Articles

Several databases contain newspaper articles. Locate them via the Newspapers link on the Articles, Indexes, and Databases page.

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Finding a Specific Journal Article

Our Journal List is the list of journals we subscribe to in print and electronically. Once you have a citation to an article, go here to see if the Libraries have a subscription to this particular volume, issue and year of the journal you need. Occasionally the information is incorrect and/or unclear. Call us at 460-7025 if you have any question about the availability of these journals. (Note: Some magazine and journal publishers "embargo" the latest year of electronic versions. This means that the most recent issues will not be available online for a year from their publication date.)

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What if we don't have the book or article you need?

Interlibrary loan can often locate a copy of books or aticles that are not held by the USA Libraries.

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Smart Internet Searching

  • Use well-regarded and recommended internet sites.
  • Go beyond basic search boxes - try using advanced search options on search engines to improve your results.
  • Evaluate internet information carefully.

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How to Cite

Style guides in the library:

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition
    • University Library Ready Reference (2nd Floor North). Call number BF 76.7 .P83 2010 (Non-circulating)
    • University Library Circulation Desk, 7 Day Library Reserve. Call number BF 76.7 .P83 2010
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition
    • University Library Ready Reference (2nd Floor North). Call number LB 2369 .G53 2009 (Non-circulating)
    • University Library Bookstacks. Call number LB 2369 .G53 2009
    • University Library Circulation Desk, 7 Day Library Reserve. Call number LB 2369 .G53 2009
    • Mitchell College of Business Library, Reference. Call number 2369 .G53 2009 (Non-circulating)
  • Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition
    • University Library Ready Reference (2nd Floor North). Call number Z 253 .U69 (Non-circulating)
  • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers, 7th edition
    • University Library Ready Reference (2nd Floor North). Call number LB 2369 .T8 2007 (Non-circulating)
    • University Library Bookstacks. Call number LB 2369 .T8 2007
    • University Library Circulation Desk, 7 Day Library Reserve. Call number LB 2369 .T8 2007
    • Mitchell College of Business Library, Reference. Call number LB 2369 .T8 2007 (Non-circulating)

Online Style References:

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Academic Integrity

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